Why is my life so weird? Apparently, I have contracted some sort of plague. I know it’s bad because my husband actually got it first, and he nevernever gets sick.
I think this is some sort of payback, because I had a wonderful anniversary weekend with my husband. Almost too good to believe. I’ll spare you the details, but at one point, he turned to me and said, “How could I lose? This weekend contains all the things you love: historical stuff, jewelry, cooking information and bloody, bloody violence.”
It was lovely, except for this little nastygerm that is running through our household. I’m using a lot of Kleenex and whining in my soup.
Also, I got hacked again. My password has been changed so many times that it makes my head spin. Things kept going crashboom!, and then I’d call tech support, and things would be fixed, and then a few hours later…down again. Assholes! I’m working on it. I am wildly optimistic that I’ll be back sometime…this century.
In other news, it’s time for the end-of-summer, drowning-in-garden’s-bounty recipes. Today I’m giving you a very delicious, very ugly, veggie-centered braise. In the past, when I’ve been up to my armpits in veggies, I’ve made ratatouille. Many, many versions of ratatouille. But this year, I had cabbage. Cabbage is a polarizing vegetable–people either love it or hate it. I kind of hate it. The only way I like cabbage is if it’s cooked to death in some kind of meat or fat. Meat and fat are key to cabbage comsumption.
I was in a pickle, though, because I was under the weather and unwilling to make the effort to make cabbage rolls, which is my go-to cabbage dish. Coleslaw? Meh. Not in the mood. Eventually, I just chopped the cabbage and all of the other veggies that were lollygagging on my counter and dumped them all in a pot, Frankenstein style. It bubbled away in the oven and smelled quite nice after a while, but truthfully, I think this is the homeliest dish I’ve ever made. Dead serious. It’s worse than Miley Cyrus’ new hair.
I will spare you the photographs.
You see, I had a purple cabbage on my hands. Purple cabbage is quite pretty, unless you cook it with anything else, which I did. If you make this fatal error, you have…purple haze. It leaks into everything. Purple food isn’t very pretty.
I almost threw the whole lot out, but it did smell good, so I gave it a go. It was delicious and rustic and rather comforting on a rainy day.
I served it over rice, with a nice dollop of Greek yogurt. I also ate it for breakfast with a hunk of bread, which…yep…made my husband gag and wish he’d never married such an odd creature. I hope to torture him for at least 12 more years with my disgusting morning repasts.
This Frog-Prince of a dish also makes a nice side, if you want to serve some lovely roasted chicken or pork alongside. However, do not omit the bacon, people! Bacon makes the world go round. Can I just share that as I type this, I am wearing a shirt emblazoned with the logo, Boccalone: Tasty Salted Pig Parts? ‘Tis true. Bacon and I get along swimmingly.
Okay, okay, if you are a vegetarian, you can simply substitute a few tablespoons of butter for the bacon fat, but you will be sorry. Hmph.
I encourage you to make this only with green cabbage–it’s kind of a train wreck with purple, although it will taste fine.
The other day, while coloring a picture, Miss M. said, as she reached for a purple crayon, “Purple always dazzles up a picture.” And it does. Just maybe not in a braised veggie kind of way.
I hope, if you have a garden that’s busting, that you’ll make this. It uses up all kinds of odds and ends. It’s not even really a recipe–more of a method, truly.
As I’m editing this post, ready for a sad-sack nap, I just heard Rachael Ray use the term “smellavision.” And I thought there wasn’t anything more ridiculous than the appearance of my summer braise…
Love to you, readers. I’m on my way to recovery, and Miss D. does not have a broken wrist, which we feared this morning. I know. Life in the Weird Zone. Weird must be our new normal.
End Of Summer Braise
serves one person for a week if you use purple cabbage
6 slices of thick-cut bacon, chopped
One large head cabbage, cored and roughly chopped
One onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 cups of any leftover summer veggies, like zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, beans, bell peppers
3 tablespoons worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4+ cups low-sodium chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
rice or bread, for serving
In a large Dutch oven, cook the chopped bacon until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon. Add the cabbage and onions and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and the rest of the vegetables, cook for another 3 minutes. Add the stock, worchestershire sauce, tomato paste, salt and pepper and bring up to a boil. Cover the pot and bake at 350 degrees for an hour. Take out of the oven, stir, add more chicken stock if the braise seems dry. Place back in the oven for another 30 minutes. Add the bacon to the pot, cover, and cook for 15 minutes more.
All of the vegetables should be completely collapsed into a warm, bacon-infused, sloppy mess. Add the fresh herbs and season again with salt and pepper. Serve as a side or a main dish (over rice or with bread).